BALLET OF THE PIANO HANDS
Watch a pianist’s hands. They seem to be conjuring up a magical being with crossing, fluttering fingers.
Sometimes the fingers stay on the keys, while at other times they take flight across the keyboard like a ballerina, each finger landing in the exact ¾ inch wide space that is a single piano key.
Notice that the pianist’s whole body seems involved in the music. The arms, the torso, the head all seem connected to secret puppet strings moving in time.
At times the pianist hunches over, as if wanting to merge with the keyboard. Then, alternately, the torso rears back from the keys, as if a woodsman needed a solid perch from which to drive a heavy blow.
The two hands almost never do the same thing, as if they were a ballet team involved in a single dance that makes no sense without both of them contributing their unique swath of notes.
Then observe the eyes, involved in a flurry of micro-movements. Playing the piano often involves having to look more than two places at the same time.
Pianists solve this problem by looking out of the corner of their eye, and looking incredibly quickly for one or two principal notes that must be observed for a split second or risk disaster.
Sometimes the hands cross over each other, or become entangled in the same area of the keyboard. Chopin is famous for places where the hands interlock, the two thumbs involved in their own inner ballet, crossing and re-crossing, under and over.
Each pianist works out subtleties of their own, fingering changes, even the disposition of notes from one hand to the other, all to suit the individual hand.
The pedals are another part, unseen and unheralded, but undeniably, according to the great Vladimir Horowitz, “They are the secret of the piano.” A great pianist uses them far more often than one would suspect.
Horowitz often spoke to his tuner and technician about the slightly “nasal” sound that his Steinway D (9 foot) made when the soft pedal (the left one) was only partially depressed. “Half-pedaling” as it is sometimes referred to, does indeed, on some pianos, yield a half-light, twilight sweet sound to certain pianissimo passages.
You can hear this effect used seamlessly, with perfect confidence and style on many pianist’s recordings, including Rubinstein and Horowitz.
Take a field trip and visit You Tube to see the wonderful array of world-class artists playing the piano, many where you can watch their hands. Do a search there for "classical piano." Or visit our GREAT PIANIST VIDEO MUSEUM where you can watch great piano artist's videos.
All pianists seem to be speaking the same language, in their own way, with their hands.
By John Aschenbrenner Copyright 2010 Walden Pond Press All Rights Reserved
TEACH YOURSELF PIANO DOWNLOAD wcs021DL $9.95 Includes download of printable 133 page illustrated song book in Adobe PDF format plus printable stickers. Identical to the printed version.
The Adult Piano Package
The Adult Piano Package has everything an adult or older child needs to begin an exploration of popular, folk and traditional music at the piano, using both hands, chords and PIANO BY NUMBER. Included are four illustrated books and a 56 minute DVD.
All books use the friendly PIANO BY NUMBER system and require no knowledge of note reading to get started playing fun, familiar songs right away.
Included in the Adult Piano Package:
TEACH YOURSELF PIANO STEP BY STEP: 133 page illustrated book with 56 minute DVD will teach you how to play simple songs, graduating to songs that include the black keys (flats and sharps) and finally "chords," which are groups of three keys played with the left hand.
THE BIG BOOK OF SONGS BY NUMBER: The largest collection of PIANO BY NUMBER songs anywhere! 134 songs, 150 pages, with chord indications for all songs. You'll be playing right away. Click here for a list of songs.
PIANO CHORD DICTIONARY: An exhaustive, easy to follow dictionary of every chord you will ever need to play all contemporary pop music. Includes chord substitutions and simple diagrams using PIANO BY NUMBER. No more hunting for a chord for a song, even if you don't read music.
I CAN READ MUSIC: After you've gotten started playing PIANO BY NUMBER, you should try reading music. I CAN READ MUSIC is the easiest to follow introduction to reading music available today. We break the visual elements of musical notation into easy to grasp bits that anyone can understand.
NOTE: YOU MAY SUBSTITUTE TITLES IN THIS PACKAGE: For example, if you want EASY CLASSICAL instead of I CAN READ MUSIC, just indicate that in the COMMENTS section of the order form, during the online order process.
The Adult Piano Package
4 Books and DVD $59.95
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You can also purchase individual books $24.95